The most visible issue for a football team is the quarterback, and the position gets more interesting by the minute at Marshall.
Senior Brian Anderson is the incumbent and remains the No. 1 option at the moment. Don't lose sight of that caveat, because freshman A.J. Graham is having, by all accounts, a very productive spring and seems to be closing that gap.
And both face an immediate challenge in May, when Willy Korn brings his Clemson degree and some starting experience to Huntington.
At the center of the quarterback dilemma (or controversy, as the case may be) is Tony Petersen, back for his third tour of duty with the Thundering Herd.
If this matches his previous two, Herd fans will enjoy the ride.
First, Petersen always will be known as the arm who threw Marshall to new heights in its Division I-AA era. He seized the starting QB job in 1986 and his 4,902 passing yards in 1987 may stand forever as a school record.
Or maybe not, if he grooms quarterbacks like he did Michael Payton, Todd Donnan and that Chad Pennington guy. He also coached Byron Leftwich as a raw freshman in 1998 before heading to the Big Ten.
At Minnesota, Petersen tutored Bryan Cupito to that school's all-time leading passing mark, and then helped Asad Abdul-Kaliq to similar success. At Iowa State, Bret Meyer finished his career by setting the Cyclones' passing and total offense records, and Petersen coached current starter Austen Arnaud.
Petersen spent 2009 as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach at South Dakota, a temporary step down in level but with a cool nickname, Coyotes. From there, he got the call from new coach Doc Holliday to come back to the Thundering Herd.
"It feels good. I was gone for about 12 years, and I always liked Huntington and Marshall, and it feels good to be back," Petersen said. "I've had a great coaching career; I was eight years here and eight years at Minnesota. And then the last couple of years, what happened to us at Minnesota and at Iowa State has kind of been bad.
"But you know what? You stay in it long enough, that's going to happen, and I'm just happy to be in a stable place where I know I'm going to be happy and stay around for a while."
He assumed roles of assistant head coach under Holliday and co-coordinator under Bill Legg, but his old role of quarterback coach promises to be most critical. Previous coach Mark Snyder was widely criticized for his hiring of John Shannon to coach that position, especially when passers struggled late the last two seasons.
Hands-on teaching is more visible this spring, and Petersen is often seen conferring with quarterbacks on throwing motion and other mechanics. With Graham being a redshirted freshman, Petersen is teaching him more than the senior Anderson.
Graham said work on his fundamentals came early. Really, really early.
"It was right there, first snap," Graham said. "First day, he was looking for footwork, and then I guess you could say he worked on the windup, throwing motion a little bit, not taking as long to deliver the ball, get it out there. But first day, it was footwork, the main thing."
The spring is not about crowning a No. 1 as much as it is development. Remember, the Herd is installing a new offense, and is doing so with two somewhat different quarterbacks. Anderson is about as content as Petersen was 23 years ago to stay in the pocket and get the job done there, while Graham's mobility figures to keep a defense honest.
In the last week of spring, there's no substitute for Anderson's experience. Whether that keeps him a starter 41/2 months from now, that is the question.
"It's easy to tell [Anderson] is a senior. It's easy to tell he's played a lot of games," Petersen said. "He understands concepts, he's comfortable back there."